Memorial of Saint Andrew Düng-Lac and Companions, Martyrs
In yesterday’s Gospel we heard of the widow who trusted in God’s providence, and we considered also the life of Blessed Miguel Pro. Today Christ again calls on us to trust Him, to live life prepared for the end of the world but not in fear of it.
There is a lot going on in the world, and it seems that whenever there are terrorist attacks, wars, bloodmoons, or ancient calendars there is a Christian somewhere who predicts that the end of everything is at hand. In two thousand years of Christianity, clearly, no one has gotten it right and we should not be surprised at this, considering that even Jesus admitted to not knowing (Matt. 24:36) when the last day would be. But He tells us today that He will be the one who declares the end, though many will come in His name and claim “the time has come”: how could anyone but Jesus make such a claim? Should ever you hear someone claim that the end is near remember: only the One who began the world declares its end.
Perhaps more important than this is Jesus’ warning that before the end comes, there will be a lot of terrible things going on: the world will get worse before it gets better. In a way it is as if the world, seeing that its rightful King is at hand, engages in its final and terrible acts of rebellion before it finally surrenders to the Son of God. In any case we are told that this will happen and that we need not be afraid, for even as it seems that the world is out of control, it is not. It may seem, even today in the midst of violent weather patterns, terrorists attacks, economic woes and all else, that chaos—not Christ—reigns. But after every storm there is calm, after every night there is day, after every war there is peace. The things that terrify us and cause us to doubt God’s benevolence do not last.
Therefore, do not be afraid. We have been told that things will be frightening and difficult but that, ultimately, God triumphs. Today the Church remembers the many martyrs who died in their efforts to live as subjects of Christ the King in Vietnam, a Church that survives to this day and has even flourished in the face of persecution over the centuries. They show us, as Christ teaches us today, that we need not fear the terrors of the world when our hearts are ruled not by its prince (John 12:31) but by the King of all the universe, even this little part of it which we—and He—call home.